Modern living exposes us to a wider range of health dangers than ever before.
Some of the sneakiest of these modern health hazards affect our hormones. This is a big deal since hormones play a major role in health and quality of life. When they’re healthy and balanced, we feel great.
But feeling great is difficult when hormones are disrupted. As it turns out, some very common chemicals found in foods, personal care products, common medications and even food packaging pose real, but hidden threats to hormone health.
Health threats directly related to these hormone disrupting substances include infertility, cancer, birth defects and immune system problems.
The first step in eliminating these sneaky health damaging hormone disruptors is understanding where they hide. Here is a short list of places you’ll find them and their effects:
Many types of chemicals found in food containers and food wraps contain what are called xenoestrogens (“foreign estrogens”).
The most well-known of these xenoestrogens is Bisphenol A (BPA). You can find it in baby bottles, plastic linings in food & beverage cans, microwave containers and even water bottles.
Toxic effects linked to BPA exposure include:
- Reduced male fertility and libido
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Learning & memory impairment when an infant is exposed to BPA in the womb or shortly after birth
- Breast and prostate cancers
- Birth defects
- Heart disease
Another, somewhat less well-known endocrine disruptor is hidden in grease-proof wrappers for foods. Called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), it is one of several flourinated carbon compounds that create health hazards.
PFOA interferes with healthy hormone activity and causes neonatal mortality. It also causes liver, pancreatic and testicular cancer as well as obesity. Once you ingest it, it remains in your body for years.
You’ll find PFOA in the wrappers of candy bars, microwave popcorn, stick butter, take-out pizza and fast food.
Solution: avoid food container sources of BPA by never microwaving food in plastic, not drinking water from plastic bottles and avoiding canned foods that have plastic liners (hint – that’s most of them).
Also, avoid PFOAs by never eating fast food wrapped in grease-resistant wrappers, microwave popcorn, candy bars & take-out pizza. Also, be cautious of stick butter wrapping. Some natural & organic butters are wrapped in foil rather than PFOA infused paper. Use these instead.
Both over-the-counter and prescription pain medications when taken by pregnant women can disrupt future fertility in male fetuses. They do this by interfering with normal hormone development.
Solution: to eliminate this source of hormone disruptors, use natural products to help reduce pain and inflammation. Ginger root, curcumin (turmeric), Omega-3 fish oils, digestive enzymes (Bromelain, Amylase, Protease, etc.) are all good sources of natural anti-inflammatories.
Better still, eliminate the source of inflammation by eating according to your Metabolic Type® and avoiding processed foods.
Shampoo & Cosmetic Ingredients
Substances such as polyethelene glycol & sodium lauryl sulfate (both found in most shampoos) are other ingredients that interfere with hormone balance. Once absorbed through the skin, they fool the body into thinking they’re the hormone estrogen. Because of this they are called, “estrogen mimics.”
And because all hormones in your body are related and interact with one another, these estrogen mimics disrupt every hormone in your body, preventing them from acting normally.
Estrogen mimics are also found in makeup and other personal care items.
They contribute to a disturbing number of serious health issues including male and female infertility, abnormal development of the fetus during pregnancy and some types of cancer.
Solution: to avoid these, look for natural shampoos and cosmetics. Be sure to read the labels carefully. This is important because many companies sell “Mineral” makeup or use the word, “Natural” in their name, but still contain dangerous ingredients. See the Environmental Working Group “Skin Deep” website for more.
Some foods also have hidden hormone hazards. For example, soy and flax seed are both rich with phytoestrogens, which are another type of estrogen mimic.
The ironic thing about phytoestrogens isn’t that they act like estrogens in the body. Instead, they lodge in estrogen receptors and block estrogen from performing it’s normal function.
So instead of disrupting normal hormone balance the way other estrogen mimics do (by faking out the body), phytoestrogens disrupt normal hormone balance by blocking hormones from their normal activities.
Solution: avoid phytoestrogens, particularly if you’re pregnant or male.
Even though modern living brings us face-to-face with these hidden hormone hazards every day, there are things you can do to minimize the effect and keep your hormones balanced. By following these suggestions you’ll increase your quality of life.
All the best to you for your health and happiness,
Hyperhealth Pro Database, In-Tele-Health, Hansville, WA, 2008.
Urine bisphenol-A (BPA) level in relation to semen quality, American Society for Reproductive Medicine
Mild Painkillers in Pregnancy May Harm Male Fertility, Reuters, reported on NewsInferno.com